Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Just Been Busy--Some Random Stuff

My sister got married in my back yard this last weekend. It has been a long process of fixing and planting and painting and trying to keep things from deteriorating more rapidly than normal with the assistance of certain four-legged yard inhabitants.

All three spent Saturday at The Kennel--never have done that before with any of my dogs, but I really had no other good choices. And in fact it was up where we usually do agility classes anyway, so they know me and my dogs, and they have huge outdoor runs (bigger than some people's back yards) as well as smaller, more standard concrete runs for the dogs to rest in. Seems to have gone well, even with all 3 dogs in together.

I put away the Nature's Miracle spray a couple of weeks ago because Boost had had no accidents, but then of course that same day... She varies. Fine for a few days, then peed in the wrong places (a) Saturday evening when she got home from the kennel and went to greet people on the back deck, (b) Sunday sometime in the hall in front of my housemate's room, (c) Monday morning while I was showering, on my bedroom carpet, (d) Monday afternoon sometime while I was at work, on the tile near the garage door. Today--so far as I've noticed--we've had no accidents.

Boostie is doing Sit and Down fairly well on command now, and her stay is pretty good. Working through a variety of distractions.

A couple of weeks ago (or maybe more) I started occasionally putting her through tunnels with the "through" command. It took a while for her to get the concept. Note that she has always run full speed through tunnel after tunnel while playing by herself or while playing chase with Tika, but doing it on command with direction from me was an entirely different thing. Now it seems she's got it, so we're trying different angles and approaches (e.g., her in a sit and me near tunnel; her in front of me with my hand in her collar; stuff like that).

Have just started putting her over one or two jumps set at maybe 4 to 8 inches.

Haven't spent nearly enough time on getting her to do a nose touch to the ground or a target, let alone sending her to it, let alone transitioning that into a world-shaking contact.

Last Tuesday, in the potty yard at agility class, I turned around and discovered that Boost had somehow slipped through the fence into the pasture with the sheep and the llama. I called her a couple of times but she was oblivious, starting to cautiously head towards the flock. So I resorted to a "trick". I yelled "Readyyyyyy--" which is what I use for all my dogs to get them revved up to fetch a toy or do agility or whatever--then turned and ran like crazy in the opposite direction, whooping excitedly. Boost blasted back to me, barely slowing to slip through the really really tiny gap between the side of the gate and the fence.

Our instructor was a bit surprised that anyone could slip through that gap, but I said that he probably didn't have a lot of really skinny BC puppies checking it out.

So, the very next day, same 3 dogs off leash, same potty yard, same sheep and llama. I pick up some poop, turn around--and Tika is in the sheep pasture and charging full tilt towards the sheep! Mind you, these dogs have been off leash in this same area every week for years. Maybe they've done something different with the gate. Maybe Tika took note when Boost went through and decided to try it herself.

At any rate, the llama popped right up and went to work doing her job; chased Tika right out of there. I was afraid that Tika might get seriously injured, but after attempting to briefly stand her ground and say her piece, she decided that discretion was the better part of valor in the face of a charging llama, and blasted right through that little tiny gap between the gate and the fence.

Our instructor was particularly amazed that she had gone through. But I still don't think he's gone down and changed anything about the closure.

So now I have to keep the dogs on leash in the potty yard, which is a pain in the patootie.

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